'Sommelier on the Slopes' is a much-loved event in the ski calendar in the gorgeous Alta Badia region of Italy. We sat down with sommelier, Hubert Kastlunger to find out more about this one of a kind experience.
How does the Sommelier on the Slopes programme work?
Sommelier on the Slopes takes place on seven dates this season (21st December, 18th and 25th January, 22nd February, and 1st, 15th, 22nd March) with each date offering an afternoon of skiing alongside a professional sommelier, stopping off at three of Alta Badia’s beautiful mountain huts for a tutored tasting. At each hut, participants taste three wines from the Alto Adige region, learning about its heritage and tasting each, under the expert guidance of the sommelier – I have even been known to strip off my ski wear to reveal full sommelier dress with a smart bow tie and apron! Organised by the Alta Badia Tourist Board, in association with the Alto Adige Wine Consortium and the Alto Adige Sommelier Association, tickets need to be purchased in advance via the tourist board and cost €28 per person. Booking early is advisable as all dates in 2017 were sold out!
Why will it appeal to a skier who enjoys wine?
If you love skiing and good wine, can you imagine a nicer way to spend an afternoon? It’s an instant hit with everyone who takes part. Small groups ensure the experience is kept personal, and not only do you get to ski some of Alta Badia’s beautiful slopes, following a local who knows the pistes backwards, but you also get to taste the very best of the region’s wines. If it's not too chilly, tastings can take place outdoors with the stunning UNESCO World Heritage Site at the backdrop, or cosy up in one of Alta Badia’s beautiful huts.
Will the guests learn about local wines and pairings?
Yes – wines will vary at each hut, from sparkling wines to white and red options. Guests will also learn about the grapes and individual processes used to create the chosen wines and the sommeliers will also recommend the dishes that the wines would best be served alongside. With 'A Taste for Skiing' taking place all season, you can also extend your learning by sampling these dishes during your stay in Alta Badia, each designed by a Michelin starred chef in partnership with a mountain hut and served with a perfectly paired wine.
What makes the wines of Alto Adige so unusual?
The Alto Adige wines are unique because of the remarkable terrain, the variety of different climate characteristics and soil properties.
Do you have a particular favourite local wine and if so, what is it about this wine that you love?
I personally love fresh and sourness-accented white wines and there are lots of delicious ones from Alto Adige. Pinot Bianco, Kerner and Sauvignon Blanc fit my taste exactly.